Last year's Marvel Games panel brought in Deadpool himself to announce his game [which we enjoyed quite a bit - see our Deadpool review here ], as well as updates on the ongoing social and online games. This year's official panel description for Comic-Con International: San Diego 2013 again only mentions updates, but that doesn't mean there won't be an announcement or two in store. Follow along as we cover the panel live with all the latest.
Official Description: You're in for an hour of fun and surprises in the most ambitious Marvel video games panel to date! Hear the latest on all upcoming Marvel video games, including the highly anticipated LEGO Marvel Super Heroes! Find out what's next for Marvel Avengers Alliance, Marvel Heroes, Marvel Pinball, and Marvel War of Heroes. This panel wouldn't be the same without a few special guests, so stop by and see who takes the stage!
A full house welcomed the Marvel Games crew to Comic-Con. LEGO Marvel Super-Heroes was front-and-center with a Lego Hulk on the dais. A trailer for Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D. ran prior to the panel starting, showing some nice Marvel synergy (and a lot of applause).
Javon Frazier, VP of Games Marketing moderated, with Chris Baker, Interactive Manager, TQ Jefferson, VP of Games Production, Stephen Reid of Gazillion, Justin Woods, and Arthur Parsons rounding out the panel.
Marvel Heroes, the relatively new Action-MMORPG started the panel with a fresh trailer showing new custom visual effects, more pets, more costumes - the team is not slowing down with continuing to add features and goodies. The game is free to play, sign up and download the client at marvelheroes.com.
"I can't really believe we made that trailer," said Reid. "The game is live, we launched on June 4th," and there are over 1.5 million registered users. The development team has added "new stuff" every week, working "even faster than before we launched," the Community Director said. Community response is key to what they add, as well.
The Colossus "Outback Costume" has been added recently, the Ms. Marvel "Binary" costume, and "coming very very soon, the Storm in her Marvel NOW! X-Men outfit!" That will come in about a week, and she will receive a powers buff as well. The Cable "War Baby" costume with his metal baby bjorn on his chest is coming around the same time.
Hulk as War, the Horseman of Apocalypse was a community selection, and is in the game now. "Big shout-out to Marvel for helping us out with that one," said Reid. Captain America in his "First Avenger" costume was added, too.
Later this summer, as we showed last week, the Superior Spider-Man costume is on the way. The costume includes the metal legs that retract into the backpack, and Christopher Daniel Barnes voices the character, who has revamped animations for movement and fighting.
Human Torch is the first post-launch hero, and a trailer for the character was shown next. He'll have multiple costumes right from the start. "We are really excited about him, the design team took extra time with him, he'll have 25 powers, more than anyone else in the game."
After the Human Torch, next up is Emma Frost, who will have diamond form (with separate powers for that). Luke Cage, with a tiara costume, Nova (starting with his "modern costume") and Squirrel Girl (finally) are coming into the lineup. "We have crazy stuff lined up for her. There will be squirrels."
Along with Thor: The Dark World, Marvel Heroes will be adding Asgard as a playable location with new costumes and villains from that corner of the Marvel Universe.
Marvel Pinball has a "Strange" new table coming, teasing Dr. Strange getting his own.
Marvel: War of Heroes has been in the top grossing on the App Store and Google Play since launch, and Jefferson said there are all sorts of Marvel artists continuing to contribute to the card-based battle game.
Marvel's Infinity event (That's the next panel, too!) was already announced as coming to Marvel Avengers Alliance, and is coming to War of Heroes as well, with special cards to tie into the series.
X-Men: Battle of the Atom is a second card game coming for mobile. Tied to the three-era spanning time-travel comic book crossover, the series will "eventually have virtually every X-Men character you've ever seen." Gree, a prominent mobile game maker approached Marvel for the 50th Anniversary of X-Men. You'll play out storylines, starting with the Schism story, then the actual Battle of the Atom story. James Asmus is writing/adapting for the game. There will be a Guild vs. Guild event-based gameplay included for 20 versus 20 battles. Team-based bonuses will give additional buffs, as will "Relationships," both familial and romantic.
The facebook/web/now mobile game, Marvel Avengers Alliance came up next, with a trailer teasing Season 2. Justin Woods said it's coming out "extremely soon," though no exact date could be given. There are new experiences, with a revamped chapter mastery system, based on accomplishing different events from different maps. Character costumes are the new rewards for chapter completion. The Circle of 8 is the new main villain group.
Chapter 2 of the second season will "really dig into the story." Spec Op 12 is "Dark Reign," with the Dark Avengers, run not by Norman Osborn, but by "Dell Rusk," and Ares is the reward hero. PVP Season 10 brings Bishop in, as well as separate offensive and defensive PVP teams, plus PvE - it's all separated now.
Squirrel Girl, Moon Knight, Brother Voodoo, and Elektra are all on the way as playable characters - with the final being a new lockbox character.
The previously announced Infinity Spec Op will feature a new character, new to the Marvel Universe. If you're a new player on Playdom.com/SDCC, you get a free item, Woods announced, as well.
A trailer for a game from Gameloft prominently featured Thor in the trailer - the game is Thor: The Dark World, for iPhone, iPad, and Android in November 2013. The game is written by Christopher Yost, one of the writers of the film, and features a brand-new story, over 100 missions, multi-player, and more.
LEGO: Marvel Super Heroes was next, and Arthur Parsons introduced a new trailer for the game, which is said to offer 150 Marvel characters, including many over-sized ones. Hulk, Thing, Lizard, Juggernaut, Colossus, Kingpin were all shown before introducing a special Hulkbuster Iron Man variant character as well. "There's even more, as well."
Parsons introduced other new characters in rapid-fire: Dr. Doom, Jean Grey, Elektra, Agent Coulson - voiced by Clark Gregg, Magneto, Silver Samurai, The Punisher, Beast, Gambit, Storm, Green Goblin, Parson's favorite, the pre-order exclusive Iron Patriot, Juggernaut, Squirrel Girl (for the third time on this panel!), Rhino (another large character), Thing, Vulture, Sabretooth, Invisible Woman, Howard The Duck (!) "I vowed he would be in a game" said Jefferson, and Reid said they wanted him too.
LEGO Deadpool got a special spotlight trailer - voiced again by Nolan North, he breaks the fourth wall, and does a side-mission at Marvel Comics. Marvel's "Agent M" was shown, as well as Editor-in-Chief Axel Alonso, Chief Creative Officer Joe Quesada, and the great Stan Lee! All three joined the panel along with their LEGO characters. Stan received a standing ovation. "It's good to have you hear as my guests," he dead-panned. "Have you ever been somewhere and had no idea what you were there for? I guess I'm in a game, but I don't think they got my permission. I'm here to see myself in the game."
A trailer showed Stan Lee, and his character can use various Marvel Heroes' powers, with Spider-Man's webs and a Hulk-out transformation shown. Lee said, "Damn, I'm good! I hope everybody sees that, and when I walk down the street, they'll give me a lot of room! Excelsior!" then left the stage.
Frazier said, "Stan can do a lot more in the game, that's just a fraction."
Before fan Q&A, TQ Jefferson thanked his girlfriend for all her support and encouragement in following his dreams, then asked her to marry him! Luckily, she said yes. Frazier said "I can't take any more surprises!"
What are the additional challenges on designing a licensed game like LEGO Marvel? Parsons, "The biggest challenge on this one is keeping the Marvel guys in check! And getting it all on disc. This game rocks." Quesada said the LEGO version of himself is "surreal and really cool." Alonso said he's happy they incorporated his tattoos. "Also, recently, my ten-year-old son broke the news to me that he's not that into superheroes, but when I showed him the LEGO thing he said I was cool again."
A fan of the Deadpool game praised it, and Jefferson added that he loved what High Moon did with it. A sequel? TQ, "I'll see what we can do."
More updates for Avengers Initiative mobile game? "No plans right now," said Jefferson, because it wasn't hitting the numbers it needed to.
Any chances of a Marvel MOBA game? Jefferson, "We're all big fans of League of Legends, I'm very interested in seeing Infinite Crisis when it comes out, but we're still figuring out what to do with that."
More Marvel: Ultimate Alliance? Jefferson, "I point people right at Marvel Heroes. It's free, and that's the same sort of gameplay."
Nice segue to a Marvel Heroes fan: Richard Rider costume for Nova? Reid, "We would love to do that." And is it coming to Mac? "We are still working on that, it will happen some point this year."
LEGO game having online co-op? Parsons, "No, we focus on offline co-op. The togetherness is what makes those games fun."
A young fan wants a Venom game. Baker, "I think that'd be cool. There's always a possibility of everything. And Venom is in LEGO Marvel!"
Another Marvel Heroes fan: "First, add Moon Knight!" Then he asked his question, adding any abilities/changes to the villains? Reid, "Yeah, we're making changes and abilities into both the mobs and the bosses. New gameplay areas will have crazy new mobs you've never seen before."
Anything on the horizon for more Marvel vs Capcom? "Nothing right now, I'm sorry," said Jefferson.
Marvel Heroes on console? Reid, "Not right now. Mac is next, and we may go to other platforms after that."
Ghost Rider in Marvel Heroes? Reid, "We'd love to do him. He's one of our top five, especially with the motorbike."
Any other Marvel fighting game? Jefferson, "When we find the right publishing partner, developer, and take, we're happy to have that conversation. No plan right now for it."
LEGO Super Heroes question, what mini-fig that's in the game but not real life do you want most? Parsons, "LEGO Stan Lee!"
Which of the games shown today do you find yourself playing the most? Each person at the panel said "My one." Baker said LEGO takes most of his time right now.
A young fan wants Dr. Strange in the LEGO game, and Parsons said, "That's an awesome question, mate." He nodded and winked at the fan, but said out loud, "I don't know!" And smiled one more time.
That's all for the panel. Keep gaming!